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Summary

"He loads his head full of coal and diamonds shoot out of his finger tips. What a trick. The mole genius has left us with another digest. It's a full house - read 'em and weep." - Tom Waits

Inspired by D.H. Lawrence, Chekhov, and Hemingway, Bukowski's writing is passionate and extreme - his life was as weird and wild as the tales he wrote. His first work came from the 1960s Los Angeles underground press, and yet he became regarded as one of one of America's greatest poets and realist novelists.

This collection of Buk's grimmest diaries gives an insight into the noir and brutal Los Angeles that Bukowski observed and lived so well. He was a legend in his time: a madman, a recluse, a lover...tender, vicious...never the same. These are exceptional stories that came pounding out of his violent and depraved life - horrible and holy. You cannot listen to them and come away the same again.

Tales of Ordinary Madness includes iconic stories "A .45 to Pay the Rent" about drug dealing, fatherhood and love on the other side of the law, and "The Great Zen Wedding" in which Bukowski goes off the rails as best man at a wealthy Hollywood affair.

OBIE winner Will Patton (Remember the Titans, The Good Wife, Armageddon) recreates Bukowski in his visceral prime, along with every eye-popping character in his life, each adversary, lover, and stranger in a lost city.

©1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1983 Charles Bukowski

More about the author:

Charles Bukowski is one of America's best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. He was born in Andernach, Germany and raised in Los Angeles, where he lived for 50 years. He published his first story in 1944, when he was 24, and began writing poetry at the age of 35. He died in San Pedro, California on March 9, 1994 at the age of 73, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp.

©1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1983 Charles Bukowski (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Bukowski...a professional disturber of the peace...laureate of Los Angeles netherworld writes with crazy romantic insistence that losers are less phony than winners, and with an angry compassion for the lost." ( Newsweek)

What listeners say about Tales of Ordinary Madness

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Soul-tourtured genius

Manic, mad and profoundly filthy. This was my first meaningful foray into the crusty mayhem of Bukowski. At times I ached inside, at others I was revolted. Brave, beyond brilliant, maybe the most honest writing I've ever encountered. I'm left touched, violated and in complete awe. Total genius.

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classic Buk

Tales of Ordinary Madness is just classic Bukowski. Grimy, sleazy , grim and hilarious. The performance is great too. Well worth a credit. But the price Audible puts on books is ridiculous. Thieves. Shame on them.

4 people found this helpful

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Well Read

Sounds great, good voices, the right voice for bukowski could have even gone more whiskey/cigarette rough, even drunk and smoking continuously might have worked, missing lines, making bits up! Well....maybe not. NEED MORE BUKOWSKI -- NEED ALL BUKOWSKI -- NEED POETRY -- WILLING TO EXCHANGE MONEY AND CREDITS

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Brilliantly dark

Awesome narrator, he really made the madness feel alive. It was funny and dark and brilliant but mad. This is the first Bukowski book I've read. He's brilliantly insightful but bitterly sad. Very very much recommend this book.

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Misogyny makes decent prose unpalatable

Starts strong, great narration and some excellent prose. Does what is says on the tin APART from being intensely misogynistic. And by misogynistic I mean lines like “I planned to rape her” every few minutes.

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Bukowski rules , but,,,,,,

I think Bukowski should be read, and not listende to. It’s a huge difference .
The narrator is good, but he’s no Bukowski. Find Buk on YouTube. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
I’ve been reading Bukowski for over 30 years, and I know how I want it to be 😊

Thanx to Audible for making this book “free” in the plan I’m paying for!
About time, to be honest.

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Repetitive dross

For the first short story or two the tales of lowlifes and drunkards seem revealing,as they whizz past it becomes ever more evident that this is a kind of puddle deep schtick.

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Great Listen!

Narrated really well by Will Patton, really enjoyable listen. Quirky writing style, Bubowski at his best, funny and dark. Love the way he describes his encounters. True master piece.

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Bukowski at his gorgeous best

A wonderful array of filth, finesse and gutter poetry, spliced with the occasional swerve. Another essential piece of work from a truly great writer and human being.

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Unmissable experience

Happy to have bathed in the Bukowski world. A must listen to anyone with an open mind.

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  • Martin W
  • 09-01-18

Patton nails this.

The sample audio was way out of context and made the reading sound off. But finally I bought this and found that Patton knows his Bukowski.

I never did believe the snideness that some narrators give Bukowski's writing. Recordings of Bukowski himself don't have that tone of forced irony. He means what he's saying. Patton gets it and gives us a lively but straightforward interpretation. I'm getting the whole Bukowski by Patton set.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-09-20

Not a good use of a credit.

I’ve been doing audiobooks for a few years now and have come across some very good ones, average ones, then ones like this.
The narration, Will Patton, was excellent as he always does when reading books.
The story leaves a lot to be desired. I found much of the language and sordid details of sex, rape, and crime unnecessary and filthy to the point of disgust. I had a very hard time finishing this one and if not for the narrator I’d have given up 2 hours into the book.
This one was hard to follow, jumps around all over the place, and just became flat nasty with the language and descriptions of what was going on.
I WOULD NOT recommend this book to anyone I personally know. There are way too many good ones out there to choose from.

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  • CalEd
  • 18-09-19

Bukowski by Will Patton is my morning coffee

Will really gives a unique tone to Bukowski's writing, only Bukowski would do better reading his work. it has become one of my favorite things to do on long drives and when at home while drinking a glass of whiskey and smoking a cigar.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Billy White
  • 29-11-18

Wonderful

The narrator is astounding. If you've read this before you won't be wasting a cent by listening.

4 people found this helpful

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  • GenXtinction
  • 26-03-21

Another awesome surprise to meet this man!

Incredible narration. If those who get offended could simply listen and hear the art, and stop expecting 21st Century's century of being offended by things written, said, done decades ago and in much different times, they'll learn some true history from people silenced for rejecting the direction of the US government and putting the past in words that today's generation couldn't speak ir write... busy repeating what everyone else says. nothing original that might actually help others a different perspective. I'm 55 and wish I'd known of you earlier... but in 2021, I think the timing could not have been better. History repeating itself and NO one I've heard about writing our story in fascinating, truthful, and sometimes hard to hear ... ORIGINAL words from ORIGINAL thinking . how I long for more. Heaven forbid he had good and bad ... like every human being. But cancel culture insists he be condemned for behaviors that occurred decades and decades ago... instead of sitting in wondering about what he experienced and why self medication and anger was completely appropriate (if listener does more than just listen.

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  • EvilShredder
  • 06-08-18

Just a case of ordinary madness

Will Patton is a wonderful narrator. He sounds like how I think Buk should sound. 1950s noirish in a smoked filled bar. If you like Buk's short stories this is a no brainer. Patton does not disappoint.

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  • Carol
  • 07-02-18

Riveting stories and "in your face" revelations

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

yes, because it is written and narrated by masters of storytelling

What did you like best about this story?

a look into the life on Skid Row... and of Charles Bukowski during the 60's

What about Will Patton’s performance did you like?

He is the most spell binding narrator I have ever heard.. his acting and inflections and passion seethes in each character. I cannot find words to praise his reading ability. I will listen to him read the phone book!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

what it is like to be an "Alcoholic"....

Any additional comments?

bought every book I could on this author and this narrator

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  • david stern
  • 17-12-21

Will Patton is fantastic

The best narration of bukowski I've heard yet. And bukowski himself, what to say. The most fluid writer of all. Don't try indeed.

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  • Bornin62
  • 06-12-21

The performance is worthy of the text.

Completely alive. There is no author easier to understand and Will Payton was born to read him.

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  • Checco
  • 26-11-21

What a performance

I think Patton reads this story better than Bukowsky himself . Pattin should get more than 5 stars!
Some stories are so and so but overall much enjoyable